LONDON (Reuters) – Seventy serving and former officials in Britain’s main opposition Labour Party have made critical submissions to an independent inquiry investigating alleged anti-Semitism in the party.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission announced in May that it would look into whether the party may have discriminated or harassed people because they are Jewish.
The Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated to the Labour party, has now released details of its submissions to the Commission.
They include one respondent who listed 22 examples of anti-Semitic abuse at party meetings where he was called a “child killer” and “Tory Jew”.
A parliamentary candidate describes witnessing a party member tell a Jewish councillor to go home and count their money after they were deselected.
Another party worker said a colleague objected to the prospective membership of 25 ultra-Orthodox Jews, and visits were made to their homes – something that did not happen for other applicants.
Labour said in a statement in response to the claims that the party is not institutionally anti-Semitic, the complaints relate to a small minority of members, and that the processes to deal with such allegations have now improved.
Polls show Labour trailing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives ahead of next week’s general election but a recent narrowing of the lead has raised the prospect of an inconclusive result where a Labour-led minority government takes charge of the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Labour has been battling accusations of anti-Semitism for the past two years. Nine lawmakers quit the party this year citing the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism in the party, as well as its Brexit stance, as their reason for leaving.
Israel’s foreign minister said on Thursday that he hopes Labour loses the election, citing allegations of anti-Semitism in the party.
The submission by the Jewish Labour Movement alleges there was political interference in the disciplinary process by Corbyn’s office, despite Labour’s insistence that the leadership has not got involved.
One former member of staff claimed in a submission that they were instructed to deliver details of cases under investigation on USB sticks to the leader’s office.
A Labour party spokeswoman disputed the allegations, saying a former staffer would not know how the party’s procedures currently work, after reforms.
The equality commission said in a statement: “We are unable to comment on the detail of this investigation as it is live and ongoing. We can, however, confirm that it will not be concluded before the end of the year.”
Editing by Stephen Addison